Cheryl hung up the phone and thought about what she should do. She wasn’t sure the woman from the repair shop was giving her the right information. Did she really need to have all that work done? Struts, shocks, control arms, an alignment and tires? It seemed excessive. 

She called her husband. They decided they should call Uncle Billy who does a lot of his own work in his driveway. She trusted his advice about cars.

This experience was so much like all the others. She was hoping this shop would be different – the woman that answered the phone seemed nice enough. It’s for this reason that she rarely went back to the same repair shop more than once or twice. They seemed to want to sell her more than what she really needed.

Based on the advice of her uncle, Cheryl called the shop back and approved tires and an alignment – nothing more. After all, that’s why she went to the shop in the first place. Her husband noticed that her tires were wearing unevenly and based on Uncle Billy’s advice, he told her to get new tires and an alignment. 

Maybe the shop was trying to upsell work that didn’t need to be done. Or maybe the work was legitimate but they failed to build trust with Cheryl in their interactions with her, leaving her questioning their recommendations. 

Maybe Uncle Billy was right. Or maybe Cheryl wasn’t able to relay the information accurately between her family and the shop with her limited knowledge about cars.

Having a trusting relationship with your mechanic is important in being able to make wise decisions about your vehicle. If you don’t have trust, first and foremost, then how are you going to feel confident in the advice they are giving you?

How do you build trust?

1. Know what to look for in a shop. Read more…

2. Don’t focus on price when looking for a shop. Rather, focus on the value of the work to get the most out of each dollar. Read more…

3. Decide what kind of service you want from the shop. Expectations should be set from the beginning. This includes your expectations of them and their expectations of you. It’s a symbiotic relationship. Read more…

4. Talk to the new shop about why you are uneasy. What past experiences cause you to be leary? Allow them to address your concerns.

5. Ask questions! Cheryl could ask:

    • “Is the failure visible? Can I see it?” (sometimes you can, sometimes you can’t. In the example of the struts, control arms, and tires, failures will often be visible.)
    • “What happens if I wait on this repair?”
    • “What are the functions of these parts?”

6. Go back to the same shop for all of your vehicle’s needs. Relationships take time to cultivate. If you hop from shop to shop, you don’t get the chance to get to know them and let them show you that they care. If you are uneasy the first time (especially if you have had bad experiences in the past), that’s ok. Go back a few times and see if they are consistent in their work and the way they treat you. 

How will you benefit from this relationship?

Aside from gaining a level of comfort when you bring your vehicle in for service, there is value in your mechanic having a history of the vehicle. If he knows what’s been done in the past he will be better able to communicate with you about what needs to be done in the future. 

You can have a conversation about maintenance due and he can help you make sure you are getting the right maintenance at the right time. For example, he’ll have a record of your last oil change, your last tire rotation, and your last coolant exchange. 

This is why having regular inspections at the same shop is important. He’ll be able to see parts that are beginning to fail and, if it’s not urgent to repair them right away, he will know to check it down the road and let you know when it is time before it leaves you with a big surprise. Inspections also help you to plan financially for future maintenance and repairs. When you aren’t surprised by maintenance and repairs due, you are able to trust that you are being given accurate information.

Cheryl shouldn’t have to rely on Uncle Billy to help her make wise decisions regarding her vehicle. If she had a trusting relationship with one shop she would be able to have a more confident conversation with them and trust them to help her care for her vehicle well.

 

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